Sadly, many of the elegant structures and bridges in the Wissahickon have fallen into disrepair. Litter and dumping has been a problem for this environment from before I can remember and now a new level of neglect is starting to take hold.
Once relegated to concrete abutments and train yards in town, a number of vandals have moved their campaign of blight into our parks. Spray tagging is beginning to appear on many of the stone walls, steps, foundations and natural surfaces along the creek
As a landscape painter I have looked to the bridges along the Wissahickon and the Schuylkill as the primary subject of my oil paintings.
These majestic structures have always captivated my attention and respect and it saddens me to see them defaced.
As a professional faux and mural painter I have been using
techniques for years to "antique" brand new restaurants, making new walls look old, transforming iron security gates into mahogany and making plywood look like marble. I also paint theatre and movie sets, employing paint effects to give a sense of realism to surfaces that would other wise "not fit the scene".
It occurred to me some time ago that the techniques I provide for my clients, if modified, would be a perfect way to restore the landscape.
This year I decided to put that idea to work.
The trick to successful faux is color. The process begins with accurately matching a base color and subsequent glaze colors. Then its a mater of layering and stippling the colors together to replicate the surrounding texture. When you can no longer see it, you know you've got it.
Often I have to apply the base one day and return to glaze the area the next.
Access is difficult, I often find myself climbing thru stickers and over icy, wet ledges to get to the area, add a couple gallons of paint , rollers, spray bottles and brushes and it becomes
a good work out!
Ironically when done correctly, faux finishing is impossible to detect and so my efforts (
unless pointed out)
disappear into the scenery, This is of course my goal, but it makes
promoting the project unusually difficult.
I have a meeting with Jane Golden's office next month and I hope among other things, to gain access to the SEPTA and Con-rail bridges that span the
Schuylkill River /I76.
If I am successful in that effort it will be noticed by virtually every one! I hope that telling this story might inspire able bodied citizens to get out doors, volunteer and help restore this world class park that is truly unique to our city.
Thank you again!
My number is
My web site is
I liked off my biannual effort at Lincoln and Ridge Avenue this morning. Immediate removal is the only way to break a vandals will to continue hitting these surfaces. If you or someone you know is interested in helping out with material donations, an account titled "Anti Graffiti" is being handled by Russel Jr. at Killian's Hardware, Chestnut hill.